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At the Belgrade army hospital, casualties of Bosnian civil war are treated. In the hospital they remember their youth and the war. Two young boys, Halil, a Muslim, and Milan, a Serb, have grown up together near a deserted tunnel linking the Yugoslav cities of Belgrade and Zagreb. They never dare go inside, as they believe an ogre resides there. Twelve years later, during the Bosnian civil war, Milan, who is trapped in the tunnel with his troop, and Halil, find themselves on opposing sides, fatefully heading toward confrontation. Written by
Saso Koren <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director Srdjan Dragojevic's Bosnian war film "Pretty Village, Pretty Flame" is an amazing movie about two friends separated by the cost of war. Milan is Serbian, and Halil is Muslim. They are best friends, and we learn much about them through flashbacks in the story. The movie is shown out of sequence, so we see Milan in the hospital, and through the various flashbacks we witness what got him to the hospital. One of the films images which stands out in my mind, is the beginning with the opening of the 1980 peace tunnel. During the celebration the man cuts his finger instead of the ribbon. Then we are forced to move unto the present where peace is far from any mindset. Both friends as children are afraid to go into a tunnel, for they fear an ogre lives in there. All grown up and in the heat of battle, Milan and his squad hide from the Muslims in that particular tunnel, only to be trapped there for days in a grueling stand off between the Serbs and Muslims. They almost become the ogres. Mulan remembers the good times with Halil, before the war broke out. A medical supply truck driven by a recovering junkie gets trapped in the cave also with a female American journalist who is hidden inside. The film is very realistic, but at the same time manages to throw in some dark comedy. Even when Mulan is in the hospital and can hardly move from injuries, he is still hellbent on killing a Bosnian soldier who is in the next room over. All he can think about is his mother and his family who is dead, and his fellow comrade who is almost dead. His other friend, the professor comforts him and tries to convince him that revenge is not worth it. From that point on the film grows more psychologically disturbing. There is so much in this film, that it is hard to describe unless you've seen it or understand the Bosnian conflict. "Pretty Village, Pretty Flame" is far from a typical Hollywood war film. Although the film is told through the view of the Serbian side, No military act is justified. This has to be one of the saddest films I have ever seen. Another image that haunts me even after the film has ended, is the scene where the ground is covered head to toe with dead corpses, including children. Emotional accordion music plays in the background, as the brutal nature of war is shown in a way a Hollywood film would never be able to. "Pretty Village Pretty Flame" is one of the best and underrated war films of all time. See it to remind yourself of how sad and terrible war is. It's a tense dramatic film that stays with you, long after it's over 10/10
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